Video: Recession in Brownsville, Brooklyn

Posted on 09. Dec, 2009 by in Business and Economics, Rebecca Leung, Urban

When we were assigned in October to interview residents in our neighborhood beats about how the recession affected them, I thought the responses from Brownsville would be predictable. I would be talking to people living on some of New York City’s lowest-income and highest-crime streets. In these types of neighborhoods, every day can feel like a recession. Unemployment is always a problem. Seeking public assistance is nothing new. I expected residents to ask me, “what recession?”

But that’s not what happened. The recession is being felt in Brownsville in a multitude of ways.

There was the father of two young children who lost his construction job and was struggling with his new role as a stay-at-home dad while his wife’s overseas military job paid the bills.

There was the single woman who took advantage of the falling home values to buy her first house, then cut up her credit cards to avoid the debt problems she was hearing about on the news.

And there was the man from upstate who had gone through three jobs in the past year and came to Brooklyn in hopes of a finding a more stable income.

The diversity of experiences in the neighborhood is fascinating.

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